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NCReatta

Interesting reading..

29 posts in this topic

looks like the cadillac in there has some reatta styling to it. Also i like that kit car listed further down. If it did use the 73-79 civic CVCC engine it'll last forever

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Heh,

Well, the Cadillac Callisto of course is what became the Allante, that much is clear from the illustration and writeup given. The drawing atop the article of the Reatta however is quite a bit different from actual production, and bears little resemblance to various other renderings of the Reatta during the planning stages. I guess they didn't have a finished body at press time, so just "faked" what they expected it to be.

A German 5 speed in the Reatta? Seems they did have aspirations for high performance, but is strange that the presumed turbo versions would have an automatic and be based on a smaller engine instead of the 3800. None of which ever came to fruition of course. Performance between the Fiero and Corvette? Well, that is actually pretty close to the truth considering the neutered Corvette's of the early/mid 1980's.

The part about the Chrysler/Maserati partnership was also interesting, as what actually came out it (the TC) is not much at all like what is outlined in the article, and quite different from the illustrations of either of the two cars that were planned.

Personally, as far as the Reatta is concerned, I'm glad it turned out the way it did. I'm not sure I'd be as enamored of this car if they had more closely followed the original plan, especially the 5 speed. I like luxury cars much more than sports cars, and a manual just doesn't appeal to me at all. I likely wouldn't have owned a Reatta (or two) if they had come with the 5 speed, but that's just me.

A turbo 3800 would have been acceptable, with a decent automatic that could mate up to it and not get shredded. Regrettably, that combo just wasn't ready in time to make it into the Reatta. What might have been.

KDirk

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Personally, as far as the Reatta is concerned, I'm glad it turned out the way it did. I'm not sure I'd be as enamored of this car if they had more closely followed the original plan, especially the 5 speed. I like luxury cars much more than sports cars, and a manual just doesn't appeal to me at all. I likely wouldn't have owned a Reatta (or two) if they had come with the 5 speed, but that's just me.

KDirk

I pretty much agree. I have always thought the Reatta might have looked even better if they had used the '88 Fiero front end on it . I had an '88 Fiero Formula and I really liked it on the outside but it was too small for me on the inside. When I found my Reatta I was looking for a bigger version of the Fiero and the Reatta has filled the bill quite nicely but I do like the Formula front end better. From the rear and side I like the looks of both equally well.

post-52331-143138617295_thumb.jpg

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the 5 speed idea should have been considered in the reatta and in doing so they could hve put a turbo setup on the car just give it a stronger clutch. A smaller engine wouldnt have been an option in the reatta seeing as it's too heavy of a car to put anyhing smaller in it. It would have been worse than the 80s vettes which were neutered largely in part due to the reason most cars in the 80s went from awesome to blah is emissions garbage.

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Ronnie:

While I was never a big fan of the Fiero (I just dislike small cars because they are cramped and not really safe in light of the big vehicle craze) I will admit it was a sharp looking car at the time, especially from the front. I do like the Reatta front end also, though at times I think the cornering lamps could have been executed a little bit better.

Still, I am happy with the finished product that Buick put out. Sure, it could have been better in some regards, but relative to other GM offerings of the time, it was a vast improvement over the norm. I'll even say that I really like the 88/89 interior and instrumentation, despite it being over the top (for the time). That is probably the most maligned part of the cars design based on all the articles I've read. The digital/CRT setup is something you either love or hate it seems. This is further borne out by the design change in 1990.

Recian:

I won't argue that the 5 speed shouldn't have been an option. It should have been, along with a turbocharged 3800. They tested the turbo on some prototypes, but it never made it to production. This combo would have helped sales and made the Reatta appealing to a larger segment of the market.

That said, the way the article reads anyway, the 5 speed would have been standard equipment (with no mention of an automatic mated to the 3800, auto transmissions only for the briefly mentioned smaller turbocharged engines). I think this plan would have killed the Reatta even faster, as the auto version would have outsold the 5 speed easily, and not having the 3800 in it with the 4T440/4T60 would have made it sell more poorly than it did, in addition to being underpowered, turbo notwithstanding.

So, really my point was that given what the article claims was planned, I am glad Buick chose the path they did instead. They still should have taken it to the next level with a turbo 3800 series 1, but the auto transmission was the hangup. By the time they had an one that could do the job, the Reatta was already headed to the list of canceled projects. Yeah, missed it by that much....

KDirk

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Similar problem: the TDOHC GP that came later did have a Getrag option but do not think it was ever used behind a 3.8. Buick was not about to certify a one-off drivetrain just for a low volume car, it would have had to go through the whole economy/emissions testing cycle which isn't cheap.

Have often wondered if it weighs as much as it does to get it into the same weight class as the Riviera so it could leverage that testing.

It amazes me that the Reattae get better mpg than my Fiero GT even with 1,000 lbs and 1,000 ccs more.

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on the mpg claim ive heard it has alot to do with the aerodynamics of the reatta. yes the fiero is aerodynamic but i think the reatta is better in that respect and the 3800 being a sound engine helps too. Also the reatta pulls very low rpms at hwy speeds. Around 1800 isnt it? idk since mine never would engage o/d and it ran about 2100 rpms. My 04 hyundai is a 2.0L 4cyl 5 speed and at 55-60 range it's pulling over 2600rpm. If i stay under 55 and keep the rpms under 2500 that car will get 35-40mpg but if I go to 55-60 (2600rpm) it gets 29. That has a big effect on mpg keeping the engine in it's "prime" torque/mpg range when at hwy speeds

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Kevin, I like the interior layout in my '88 but I would like it much better if it had the '90 model IPC. I like the sweeping gages better than just the MPH readout that my '88 has.

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Those "sweeping" gauges are opomised to keep everything in the middle, the 88-89 gives you real numbers.

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Those "sweeping" gauges are opomised to keep everything in the middle, the 88-89 gives you real numbers.

I have a hard time believing that. On the gauges screen in my 89, the temp never goes above 197, even in the record upper 90's we've had here lately. I thought these engines ran up to 220 or something like that?

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Those "sweeping" gauges are opomised to keep everything in the middle, the 88-89 gives you real numbers.
Yea, even though they aren't too accurate, I like them because they look more like what you would expect in a sports coupe. The IPC in my '88 looks like it should be in a LeSabre. Would be nice to have the '90 IPC and the touch screen as well.

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I have a hard time believing that. On the gauges screen in my 89, the temp never goes above 197, even in the record upper 90's we've had here lately. I thought these engines ran up to 220 or something like that?

Someone must've changed the thermostat at some point to a lower-temp one.. My '89 runs between 202 and 206 around town. And it's been hot here. Triple digit temps for two weeks straight. Plus humidity. :eek::(

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Would be nice to have the '90 IPC and the touch screen as well.

That.. would be incredible!:cool:

One of you electronics geniuses should get cracking on that. ;):rolleyes::cool:

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Would be nice to have the '90 IPC and the touch screen as well.

^^ This in a vert would be The Ultimate Reatta.

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^^ This in a vert would be The Ultimate Reatta.
If has been done. I believe Steve posted photos here showing it.

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I pretty much agree. I have always thought the Reatta might have looked even better if they had used the '88 Fiero front end on it . I had an '88 Fiero Formula and I really liked it on the outside but it was too small for me on the inside. When I found my Reatta I was looking for a bigger version of the Fiero and the Reatta has filled the bill quite nicely but I do like the Formula front end better. From the rear and side I like the looks of both equally well.

I agree it is too small on the inside. I still own my GT and I cant stand to drive it....Is that you in the photo, Its nice to see what everybody on the forum looks like

Chuck Kerls

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After reading the article (and other articles in the past on GM products from concept through assembly), GM has the reputation of never completing a design. I think it was Bob Lutz who most recently blamed the bean counters for not allowing design/engineering to see a model mature. The Reatta was one of many cars that is a prime example of the bean counters interfering with what should have been a statement car for Buick at the time (just like the Miata has been and still is for Mazda).

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Interestingly, I had the same observation on the Fiero. Back in day, I was at the dealer looking at the GT and thought it a bit claustrophobic. Bought my 944 a few days later.

IMO, they should have hired someone like VDO to put together a nice electronically-driven analog gauge package for the '90 upgrade. In one of the videos, a factory engineer claimed it cost $10m to design and place a new instrument panel into production. Which means if it were used on 10k cars, that would add $1000 to each car. Seems like a very high cost number to me. But not being in the car manufacturing business, what do I know?

Agree with Padgett that not being able to share a 3800/manual tranny combo with another car line for emissions testing probably sealed its fate. OTOH, the DOHC 3.4 with the Getrag 284 would have dropped right in. Likewise the turbo 3.1 that was in the Turbo Grand Prix. But since the Reatta was supposed to showcase Buicks technology (including engines), those options were probably politically untenable.

The mind boggles at the lost opportunities...

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If has been done. I believe Steve posted photos here showing it.

No, that was just an '88/'89 complete dash in a vert. In other words, the dash was just as you would see it in an '88/'89 coupe.

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I agree it is too small on the inside. I still own my GT and I cant stand to drive it....Is that you in the photo, Its nice to see what everybody on the forum looks like

Chuck Kerls

Yep that's me about 8 years ago. Time has took it's toll. I look a lot older now and feel a lot older.

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Posted (edited)

Marck, Ronnie,

In full agreement that the 90/91 IPC with the touchscreen would be the best possible setup. I actually rigged up a 90/91 IPC in my 88 to see what would happen. It lit up, but only displays 00/error. Clearly, the data stream (and probably the header bytes) are different between early/late Reatta.

I'm sure with enough massaging of the BCM firmware it could be made to work. Problem, as Padgett has pointed out before, is that the BCM is undocumented and no one has really bothered to reverse engineer it as has been done with the ECM for tuning purposes. The one thing that would be lost if this could be done is the "light show". I am of the belief that the light show is a routine built into the IPC program ROM, not the BCM. Thus, when closing the drivers door or pressing the TEST button, it simply makes a function call within the cluster to activate the light show.

Believe me, I have thought about ways to do this. I may still have a plan that would involve an adapter interface that would take the data stream and remap it before passing it to the IPC, to make a 90/91 IPC work off 88/89 BCM data. In theory, there is no reason this couldn't be done, but it would involve mapping every byte of the data sent by the BCM and then translating it for retransmission with a programmable micro-controller that could do it in real-time. A whole lot of trouble for not much payoff I think.

KDirk

Edited by KDirk (see edit history)

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on the mpg claim ive heard it has alot to do with the aerodynamics of the reatta. yes the fiero is aerodynamic but i think the reatta is better in that respect and the 3800 being a sound engine helps too. Also the reatta pulls very low rpms at hwy speeds. Around 1800 isnt it? idk since mine never would engage o/d and it ran about 2100 rpms. My 04 hyundai is a 2.0L 4cyl 5 speed and at 55-60 range it's pulling over 2600rpm. If i stay under 55 and keep the rpms under 2500 that car will get 35-40mpg but if I go to 55-60 (2600rpm) it gets 29. That has a big effect on mpg keeping the engine in it's "prime" torque/mpg range when at hwy speeds

Engine power output at particular rpms is one factor, but the drag coefficient is an other. The coefficient of drag (Cd) is directly proportional to the cube of the velocity. That is to say, 55 cubed is 166375 and 60 cubed is 216000, or 32% greater than at 55. Yes, finding the "sweet spot" of engine power output is part of the overall fuel economy olympics, but speed itself plays a factor.

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thats why i think the reatta shines in hwy mpg. it has high aerodynamics which gives it less drag at hwy speeds. the speed increase wont increase drag as much with higher aerodynamics and keeping the engine in its peak rpm range at that point is why the mpg increase is so dramatic. i wana get a new tranny in mine and finish overhauling the engine and see what kind of mpg i can get out of it. im going to aim for 30 to start

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In the dark days of the 55 mph NSL, I once recorded 33 mpg on a tank in our '90 Bonneville. At 70 it is more like 27.

Don't think the BCM would be that difficult if anyone really cared, We know what the ALDO dat stream looks like and suspect the order is fixed in memory. First map what comes out of the ECM to find the major locations then align calls to those locations in the BCM progam. No big just a lot of tedious work.

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